MORE COUGAR HUNTING OPPORTUNITIES IN WASHINGTON – Many hunters look for the opportunity to harvest a mature mountain lion. Mountain lions are an elusive animal that is hard to spot and stalk. They usually require the assistance of dogs to help track and harvest a cougar. Due to the difficulty in harvesting them, the numbers of cougars in specific states and regions have begun to exceed the recommended numbers. This is true in Washington state.
Change in the Management Plan
Historically, the state of Washington has had a state-wide cougar management plan. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife would evaluate the number of harvested cougars, and then manage the numbers based on a state-wide statistic. The problem with a state-wide view is that some regions began to be overrun with cougars.
On April 10th, 2020, the DFW commissioners put a new plan to vote. The plan was to increase the harvest numbers in 19 game management units. The plan passed on a 6-3 vote.
“I’ve been wanting to fix the population estimate for a long time and this was the opportunity to do it,” said Commissioner Kim Thorburn
The new management plan will allow the DFW to manage the cougars with a more regional approach. Each unit will be evaluated following the normal hunting season for cougars. If the density number is still too high, an additional hunt will take place. Also, if the region has a high density number in the past 5 years, the second hunt will occur.
The implementation of this new plan will accomplish several items. First, it will allow better management of cougar numbers. Second, it will provide more opportunities for hunters that want to harvest the elusive cougar. Hunters are always looking for more opportunities to be in the mountains with a weapon. This new plan will accomplish that goal.
“We were really clear that what we were looking at today had to do with hunter opportunity and harvest management,” [Thorburn] said. “And really was not directly dealing with the concerns that have been brought to us by the community.”
Do you see this as a good way to manage cougars and provide more hunting opportunities?